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In 2011, the eighth season of Curb Your Enthusiasm ended with one of its most iconic episodes, guest starring Michael J. Fox. It went out with a bang and then never came back, leaving its cult following to conclude that the show was simply over.
Who were fans supposed to commiserate with about people who don’t know how to park inside the lines, people who ‘chat and cut’ at a buffet, or people who bare their midriff at work?
Well, after a six-year hiatus, Curb has returned to the small screen. In honor of the ninth season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, we are bringing you five lessons that sales enablement can learn from Larry David. We hope they will have you feeling pretty, pretty good.
There’s no ‘chat and cut’ to onboarding sales reps
During season 8, Larry David calls out a woman who attempted to cut in line at a buffet by striking up a conversation with someone near the front. Larry accused her of attempting to ‘chat and cut’ to get her food faster.
Just like Larry David doesn’t stand for cuts in the buffet line, you shouldn’t stand for shortcuts to ramping up your sales reps. When it comes to sales onboarding, faster is not necessarily better. Strike a balance between efficiency and effectiveness in your onboarding program with the goal of preparing reps for that first buyer conversation. This 30-60-90 sales onboarding plan is one effective way to structure onboarding.
Give credit where credit is due
In “The Anonymous Donor,” Larry receives recognition for his charitable donation by having a building wing named after him. However, he’s overshadowed by the wing donated by ‘anonymous,’ which everyone knows is Ted Danson.
The lesson here is that everyone likes to be recognized for a job well done. Recognize your sales reps for recent wins and small successes. One way to do this is through a peer learning program that features rep success stories. For example, you could ask a rep who shined during a particularly challenging sale to talk about what worked well during the sales process so other reps can learn from it.
Practice makes perfect
In season 4, Larry and his wife, Cheryl, decide to renew their wedding vows. While Cheryl pledges her to love Larry for all eternity, Larry showed up unprepared, fumbling his way through his vows. At one point he says, “I am your devoted servant. Well, I don't know about servant.”
What’s the sales enablement lesson here? Each and every buyer or customer interaction can make or break a deal, so you need to come prepared. Be confident that your reps are ready to perform using video coaching technology. Using coaching assignments or ‘challenges’ where reps are asked to record a video of themselves, you can evaluate their skills in pitching a new product feature or discussing the competition. Then you can relay feedback to your reps to help them make improvements before primetime.
Prepare reps for objection handling
During season 7, Larry purchases lemonade from a group of kids at a lemonade stand. Upon tasting the lemonade, Larry promptly asks for his money back, as he was displeased with the quality of the drink.
While your reps may not be selling lemonade, chances are they will come across some tough objections when they are in the field. Prepare them for common objections like price and competitive features during onboarding and training, and have them practice their responses via coaching challenges.
Don’t get ‘upstreamed’ by the competition
In arguably one of the most iconic Curb moments, Larry is waiting for a cab and gets ‘upstreamed’ by a woman who was also waiting for a ride. Sales enablement leaders, don’t let your team get upstreamed by the competition!
Ensure your reps are well versed in what your competitors offer, and how to accurately present your differentiators. It’s helpful to use sales readiness technology that allows reps to consume content where they work through CRM and email integrations. This way they don’t have to spend hours per week searching for relevant content.
In the market for sales readiness technology to help you achieve success in your new sales enablement role? Download the Sales Readiness Technology Buyer’s Guide to learn more about the most important features to consider.